I have never been in pastoral work and have only visited South America. But in researching the role of men in the churches in Latin America, I have noticed the consensus among anthropologists that Evangelicals have more success is reach men, especially young men involved in drugs and gangs, than Catholics do.
Evangelicals do this by a simultaneous proclamation of repentance and conversion to Jesus. Francis seems to be envisioning first conversion, and then, sometime later, repentance.
Rod Dreher has had discussions on Pope Francis’ interview, and one South American does not like the interview.
Mr. Dreher, I’m Latin American (Brazilian) and, let me tell you, this explanation is bunk.
The “very juridical and hierarchical and morality-focused Catholic Church of Latin America” has not existed for fifty years. It was replaced by exactly the Church that Pope Francis seems to want. The results have not been impressive, to say the least. There’s no reason to think that more of the same will give different results.
The section that describes the new Evangelical Protestants as not putting the culture war agenda in the foreground is, again, precisely backwards. They do precisely that which Mr Chapp says they don’t. They are very, very morally strict, which is why they grow so fast in the poorest areas: they give order to the disordered lives of the very poor, who come from generations of poverty and broken homes and have never known anything better. They take a huge portion of the poor’s meagre income in tithes and “gifts”… and even then the poor are better off in these churches, because the order the church gives, much like a military boot camp, helps them to plan for the future, educate themselves, not fall into drugs, not have multiple children out of wedlock, etc.
And this is not just inwards. The politicians elected by the Evangelicals are at the forefront of the resistance to homosexual “marriage”, to abortion, and most of the left’s culture war agenda. In my own country, abortion would have been legalized a few years ago if not for the resistance organized by the Evangelical politician-preachers across almost all parties – a fight in which, by the way, the Catholic hierarchy was entirely silent. If the Church retreats from these issues, the pull of the Evangelical Protestant churches will only INCREASE throughout Latin America.
To sum up, as we say here, when “the Church chose the poor, the poor chose the Protestants”.
This is also what neutral anthropologists have found.
Francis, like many of us as we grow older, may be fighting the battles of his youth, although history has moved on. The dead textbook Thomism he laments disappeared over a generation ago. Traditionalist restorationism is a tiny, tiny fringe movement in the Church. Strict moralism has disappeared, and laxity reigns.
It is true that a few bishops seem to delight in enforcing petty rules (even as they have let sexual abusers continue in ministry). Cardinal Müller, when he was bishop of Regensburg, severely disciplined priests for participating in an ecumenical wedding and for receiving communion at a Lutheran service. But Müller assigned a convicted abuse to a parish, where the priest molested numerous children. When parents complained, Muller threatened to sue them for criticizing him. In Baltimroe a priest was removed for letting an Episcopal priest, a woman, read the Epistle at a funeral mass for a relative of hers. But I was at a funeral of a friend of mine at the Cathedral in which all, even the unbaptized, were urged to receive communion. Bishops seem to be very arbitrary in their exercise of discipline, and strain out the smallest flies while swallowing obese camels.